Thursday, 21 February 2013

Are some things better left unsaid?

Every single day, we humans communicate to get by in our lives. Asking for directions, requesting a service, discussion at work and even greeting people we meet. But are there times, where there are things better left unsaid? If you refrain from speaking your thoughts, would it result in a breakdown in communication?

I am by nature, a communicative person. I love speaking to people, and I appreciate it greatly when people reciprocate. But there are those times where you feel that what you are about to say may:

1.       Upset the person
2.       Fall on deaf ears or be ignored
3.       Cause the opposite effect that you wish to have

Basically, the above sums up to the other person possibly not wanting to hear you out, or perhaps the words you have said did not strike a positive chord with them. But even if this is about to happen, should we forgo the communication, and just let the thought sit and fester in our minds? My answer, after my experiences, is ‘No’.

I have learned in my years that letting thoughts fester in your heart and mind is the worst way to go about things. First of all, it makes you unhappy, because the other person doesn’t know how you feel. Eventually, your unhappiness seeps out of your being, bit by bit, into your actions, you words, your expressions. You may not even mean or wish to communicate that unhappiness, but somehow it just finds a way to spread out and poison your whole being, and the result of this may probably be as bad as if you’d said it out in the first place.

Why do we hold back? Most of us are afraid of souring or damaging the relationship we have with the people around us. Hence, we keep things to ourselves because we think it would be best left unsaid. But as the process I mentioned above takes place. You will find that perhaps it would have been better to have just found a sincere and tactful way to communicate the thought to begin with, since you were going to ultimately end up souring the relationship with your sour attitude.

If someone was making you sad, hurting you or even putting you down way too often by being condescending and insensitive… you need to tell them. Everyone deserves respect, and a chance to explain their actions. If they have no good explanation, then you will know that you’d been worrying about losing something that you didn’t need to keep in the first place. Even in a professional setting, being forthright could mean making your days at the office much more bearable because you have set things right with certain people.

After all that’s being said, I think the key to effective communication is courage. Having the strength in you to believe that your loved one will understand your innermost feelings and having the courage to know when your feelings and opinions are not appreciated, which may bring you to a point where you need to reevaluate your relationships with the people you fail to communicate with.

As the above image suggests, the same applies to a professional setting too. Being suitably vocal in the workplace and for your career is important because being able to get your points across is important to ensure that you are understood, and you can perform your job well. Conquering personal barriers to become an effective communicator is a lifelong lesson. No one is born an effective communicator. We all learn by trial and error. The key is to not let the errors scare you from trying again until you find the best approach to get through to the intended party.

The final thing that we need to note when communicating any dreaded thoughts would be… to listen. Listen to what the other party has to say for themselves, about you. Why? Because at the end of the day, communication is a two-way process. When communication only happens in one direction, the other party deems it as… nagging.. imposing your opinions... :P Get your point across, and try to consider what they have to say too. If you can learn to do that effectively all the time, you will never have to hold back and keep anything to yourself ever again.

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